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The Psychology of Creative Writing 1st Edition

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0521707824
ISBN-10: 052170782X
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Editorial Reviews


"An outstanding collection of provocative essays. Psychologists, writers, and anyone who likes to read, think, and learn will enjoy this profoundly revealing window into the creative process."
-Josh Waitzkin, author of The Art of Learning

"[T]his book . . . has an enormous amount of information and insight on the process and practice of creative writing, and I believe writers and non-writers, creative or not, can benefit from its discussions."
-Piers Anthony

"The Psychology of Creative Writing offers unparalleled insight into the lives, minds, and processes of literary artists. The book is an utterly original and deeply satisfying exploration of the creative writer, a nuanced study that consistently dispels myths and engages the myriad, fascinating complexities of how literature is made. In assembling the book, the editors have opened a new field of inquiry into the psychological experiences, costs, and rewards of the writing life. Every reader and writer is in their debt."
-Bret Anthony Johnston, Harvard University, author of Corpus Christi: Stories

"It's an intellectual treat to see the best-known writers in creativity research writing creatively about creative writing. Kaufman and Kaufman have assembled a fine team of scholars to illuminate how people create with the written word."
-Paul J. Silvia, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, author of How to Write A Lot

"What are the secrets of creative writing? Who are the creative writers? What is so special about what they do (when it works), and how do we help others, or ourselves, to find that magic? Here is psychological research, theory, and experiential wisdom from well-known experts, on creative person, process, product, and cultivation of creativity - both in eminent writers, and in our own everyday efforts. The book rings with value and can open new doors for both scholars and practitioners. A unique contribution - highly recommended."
-Ruth Richards, Saybrook Graduate School, editor of Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature

"Like a multiperspectival novel itself, with surprising revelations and an interesting cast of characters, this wide-ranging collection by well-known creativity researchers provides a valuable resource about creative writing: where the corroboration and conflicts are among studies, and where opportunities lie for further expanding our understanding of creativity and the literary arts."
-Seana Moran, Stanford University

"...This rich collection of papers by (mostly) psychologists who research creative writing from a great variety of perspectives offers major sections on the writer, text, process, development, and education... this volume a good one to have at hand."
-Rebecca Wells Jopling , OnFiction

Book Description

The Psychology of Creative Writing takes a scholarly, psychological look at multiple aspects of creative writing, including the creative writer as a person, the text itself, the creative process, the writer's development, the link between creative writing and mental illness, the personality traits of comedy and screen writers, and how to teach creative writing. This book will appeal to psychologists interested in creativity, writers who want to understand more about the magic behind their talents, and educated laypeople who enjoy reading, writing, or both. From scholars to bloggers to artists, The Psychology of Creative Writing has something for everyone.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (June 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052170782X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521707824
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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First, this book isn't really for the average reader -- it's definitely an academic book, with emphasis on not just literature reviews but original studies performed by the authors of various chapters. For the academic reader, however, the book covers ground you're going to have trouble finding journal articles on in PsycINFO. I nearly gave the book five stars for covering ground so rarely covered, but while some chapters are five-star material, the book as a whole isn't strong enough to warrant such a high rating.

I'm thrilled with things like the breakdown of different types of blocked writers (perhaps it's not the block that's the problem, but the writer who has issues), the exploration of great manuscripts as collaborative projects (read: projects to which crit partners have contributed ideas and even prose), and the variety of theories on the creative process. Having read Susan Perry's book Writing in Flow: Keys to Enhanced Creativity, I liked that there is a chapter from her that compresses the findings of that book into a briefer space.

Other chapters are weaker -- I had trouble with the chapter that suggested that physiognomy is valid; and despite my appreciation for evolutionary psychology, the chapter arguing that creative writing may be an adaptive process was weak. I also got a bit of a chuckle at the irony of a chapter that states that phrases like "plodding sluggishly" and "sauntering languidly" are good, evocative terms for writers to use when in fact they're weak writing (use strong verbs! avoid adverbs!). Even those with some expertise on writers may not be masters of the art themselves, it seems.
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